The Problem With Red Flag Laws

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about Florida’s Red Flag Law. Please follow the link to read the entire article. Based on what has happened since the law was passed, some of Florida’s counties were awash with crazy people and other counties had a totally sane population. I doubt either is entirely true.

The article reports:

Florida enacted its red flag law in the spring of 2018 and they didn’t lose any time in putting it to use. And I mean a lot of use. But as this report from the Associated Press indicates, use of the law is not consistent from county to county and there are serious questions remaining as to how fairly it’s being applied.

That is the problem with Red Flag Laws–they deny a citizen due process and they are arbitrary in the sense that an unhappy neighbor can file a complaint without a truly good reason.

The article continues:

The first thing I would point out here is that the AP article was edited to have a rather disingenuous title. It reads “In 2 years, Florida ‘red flag’ law removes hundreds of guns.” While that’s technically true, the actual number is more than 3,500, so “thousands of guns” would have been a more accurate description.

The article concludes:

Here’s one other hole in the state’s red flag law that has many people concerned. These red flag hearings are not considered criminal proceedings so you aren’t entitled to a lawyer assigned by the court. If you’re too poor to afford a good attorney, your chances of prevailing at the hearing go way down. With all that in mind, how many of these “success” stories about gun confiscations were actually brought by people with an ax to grind against their neighbor or angry ex-wives and girlfriends? Once the judge makes the decision to confiscate your weapons, that’s pretty much it. You’re allowed to appeal, but again, if you don’t have a good lawyer what chance do you have?

I’ve been on the fence about these red flag laws since they first started cropping up. In extreme cases like the ones I mentioned at the top, I can definitely see firearms removal as being justifiable. But the system is also open to abuse and there appear to be few safeguards in place for the wrongly accused.

A Rookie Mistake Or A Portent Of Things To Come?

Not every country in the world has freedom of speech. In a case recently decided, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appealed an Austrian court’s conviction of her for denigrating the beliefs of an officially recognized religion by uttering “hate speech” against the prophet Mohammed. Unfortunately the European Court of Human Rights ruled against her appeal.

For those who came in late, the hateful words uttered by Elisabeth were in the form of a rhetorical question about Mohammed’s sexual relationship with a 9-year-old girl: “What would you call it, if not ‘pedophilia’?”

The European Court of Human Rights is made up of a group of countries considered to be part of western civilization. What Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff said is true, but evidently that fact did not help her case. How in the world did we get here? We need to realize that free speech is a gift that needs to be protected.

Meanwhile back in America, yesterday The Federalist posted an article about a recent statement by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Admittedly the new Congresswoman is not known for her knowledge of the U.S. Constitution or any familiarity with her new job description, but her comment is somewhat chilling.

The tweet below is her response to a meme about socialism that she did not find humorous:

There are some problems with that statement.

The article notes:

Now, in a perfect world, we’d be holding debates about the merits of state-controlled economies versus markets via more dignified forums and mediums, but that’s not how things go in 2018. Not only is this all absurdly juvenile, but Ocasio-Cortez should be aware that, per page 150 of the House Ethics Manual, “Members…are not to take or withhold any official action on the basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals, or their partisan affiliation. Members and staff are likewise prohibited from threatening punitive action on the basis of such considerations.”

This seems like a small matter, but it is not. Essentially it is an incoming member of Congress threatening to use subpoena power against someone she disagrees with. Combine that with the censorship of conservatives on social media, the concept of ‘hate speech’ (who determines hate speech?), and the rumblings that the First Amendment is no longer needed, and you have the potential for Americans losing a large portion of their freedom. Pay attention and stay tuned. This may not have been a casual remark.

 

 

Is The Second Amendment Real In Massachusetts?

Yesterday The Boston Herald posted an article about a rather odd incident in Boston. The article deals with the confiscation of a legal gun of a private citizen because the police decided that the man was unfit to have a gun license.

The article reports:

According to Evans’ (Police Commissioner William B. Evans) filing, the man received a license to carry from BPD in March 2016, and had a gun in his car when he went to a party in Dedham that November. Shots were fired at the party and the man took the gun from an unsecured area in his trunk and put it in his driver’s side door.

Dedham police confiscated the man’s gun and BPD revoked his license. But the man appealed in West Roxbury District Court, which ruled that the man “did what most people would have done in the same circumstances” and reversed the revocation, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.”

Evans’ appeal says the court misinterpreted the law and makes the city less safe.

“The ruling of the West Roxbury Court ordering the Commissioner to reinstate (the) license to carry firearms adversely affects the real interests of the general public in limiting the access irresponsible persons have to deadly weapons,” the appeal reads.

I have a number of questions about this story. How did the police know the gun was in the driver’s side door? Did the police have permission to search the car? Were this man’s civil rights violated?

It will be interesting to see what happens next. The man committed no crimes. He had legally owned a gun for more than two years without incident. There is no evidence of a criminal record. Why did he lose his Second Amendment rights?